No5 Chambers representes boxing manager who had licence withdrawn by board

Sports law experts at No5 Chambers have been instructed to represent a respected boxing manager whose licence was recently withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Barristers Philip Williams and Rupert Beloff are representing Bruce Baker, chairman of the Professional Boxing Promoters Association (PBPA), along with David Young, the barrister who has been leading them in the recent British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) proceedings.  

The PBPA is the UK representative for the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe and the German Boxing Association (GBA). Baker alleges that removal of his licence is an attempt at restraint of trade on the part of the BBBC and is contrary to the freedom of movement and trade objectives of the European Union.

The background to the case goes back to the July 2012 contest between British boxers David Haye and Dereck Chisora at Upton Park. This bout was sanctioned by the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe, which granted licences (previously revoked by the BBBC) to the fighters.

The BBBC issued a statement in May 2012 condemning the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe and indicating that any members involved in its promotion would be deemed to have terminated their membership of the BBBC and thus lose their licences. This position was subsequently toned down to say that members would be summoned before the board.  

Baker and members of the PBPA believed that there was no reason under European law that he and other managers and promoters should be prohibited from working with another European board to promote events in mainland Europe and the UK. 

Following the contest, in which Haye was victorious, the Federation Luxembourgoise de Boxe found itself expelled from the European Boxing Union (EBU) for what was, in Baker’s opinion, a cross-border dispute between it and the BBBC. The EBU constitution had previously only considered expulsion on the ground of breach of sanctions but the BBBC had lobbied for the expulsion.

Baker believes that the British Boxing Board of Control’s behaviour suggests it is trying to retain the position of the exclusive sanctioning body of boxing fights in the UK, contrary to the spirit and letter of EU law, an opinion shared by Williams, Beloff and Michael Cotter, a solicitor (and barrister non-practising) with Regulatory Legal Solicitors.

Williams, a member of the sports law Group at No5 Chambers, has appeared for clients before sporting tribunals including the Amateur Boxing Association, the BBBC and the British Horseracing Authority. 

Beloff is a member of the sports law group at No5 Chambers and the British Association for Sport and Law (BASL). He worked in sports media before being called to the bar. He undertakes both advisory work and advocacy in all aspects of sports litigation including regulatory work, doping, free movement and right-to-play cases, work permit and immigration matters, contractual disputes and disciplinary proceedings.

Cotter was involved in the world of boxing at a time before becoming a lawyer. He instructs No5 Chambers on a number of matters, namely relating to his expertise in financial services law, sports law and the law of professional negligence.